By drawing parallels with the function of ancestors in African traditional religions, this article
looks at the possibility that the Israelite ancestors mentioned in Hebrews played a far more
dynamic role for the author and community he wrote for than most commentators appreciate.
In addition to being examples of loyalty, it is argued that they also constitute an active presence,
and similar to God, form part of the public court of reputation distributing honour to the Jesus
followers. This also grounded and affirmed their Israelite identity.
This article was read as
a paper at the Context
Group Meeting, held at the
University of Pretoria, 03−04